Top positive review
14 people found this helpful
upon further review it was as good as the price lets on
on November 16, 2011
Overall: yes its awesome, though not at first... But it's near grain-free, high ISO shooting at night is incredible, its compact size will make you happy you aren't lugging a backpack of dslr gear, its sleek design is sexy, and I'm sure it will impress people with its picture quality and when they hear how much it costs they will be impressed with you for affording it (if that's how you get your rocks off).
The long version: I am a professional cinematographer and use canon 5d mk2s and 7ds for still and video work often. I've used Arri Alexa cameras, Red cameras and and all sorts of 35mm motion picture cameras. Needless to say I feel I have a good eye for good glass and good photos.
I ordered the Leica X1, currently owning a t2i with L-series 24-70, 80-200 IS, the popular tokina wide angle, and a 30mm 1.4 sigma for really dark shooting. Upon arrival of the X1 i snapped some pics on the internal memory (which will give you 10 pics worth in an emergency) indoors at night, out in the street at night, etc.
I downloaded the pics to my macbook pro-pretty glossy but nothing magical. Snapped some more, cranked up the ASA to 3200, played with the manual focus-pretty fun, played with the saturation and contrast settings, and I did side by side looks in iphoto at the jpeg vs dng files. manual adjustment wheels of f stop and shutter were nice to see on a digital...All good stuff, but not 2k worth. (keep reading however...)
"Why not buy a 5d if i really care about a photo or just use my iphone with hipstamatic otherwise" I said "This is an overpriced status symbol (lacking the optical viewfinder I love in 35mm Leicas) I'll stick with my t2i.."
Sent the X1 back next day without blinking-if money was no object I would have kept it but I can't see buying pricey things that don't wow me- i can use Canon t2i's as disposable cameras and not have equaled the price of an X1.
But going on a trip the next day and I was already missing it, here's why:
1) I compared the night shots to canon t2i photos and a friend's 5d mk 1 pics hanging around. The X1 at ISO 3200 had less grain than my T2i at 800. The way the X1 processes info is in fact magical. I was shooting the T2i through a $1400 l series lens and the grain was electrified at 800, the X1, flawless.
2)The compact size is easy to bring along, and unobtrusive. No one is bothered by the little thing, the t2i 7d, 5d etc becomes a project. And at something like a wedding you get the odd label of being a techy camera guy if you sling a big camera, and have to carry it around all night. Traveling with the X1 is great.
Before the X1, when a photo op out a car window came up or something i wanted a good shot of I found myself saying well the t2i is too big of a project to break out of the bag, this moment isn't THAT important, so an iPhone pic would suffice. The Leica fills that void perfectly
3)Addressing the amazon review cons lastly: FOCUS:the focusing isn't slow, it's accurate. Im used to always living on manual focus on DSLRs, I shoot video alot so I never have my lenses on AUTO, The Leica X1 is the first camera I trust to do that on.
FIXED LENS: yes a fixed lens, yes a bit of a head scratch, brow raise... but think of the Leica X1 camera as a 7d or 5d with a canon fixed prime 35mm lens that takes awesome dark photos with natural looking highlights that fits in the palm of your hand.
Summary:I'd rather have some stunning photos to document my life in a take anywhere camera than lug along a DSLR and tons of lenses forever. The opposite extreme is true too, instagram and hipstamatic is cool but the X1 will put the photos of your own history in the making, in a class above. This is an interesting camera for the picky professional unsatisfied carrying junk snapshot cameras without having to bring out the whole rig.